Route Planning & Analysis
PART’s Planning Department plays an active role in the success of PART Express and PART’s Vanpool program. These activities are completed in cooperation with PART’s Marketing, Commuter Resources and Operations Departments.
The Planning Department:
- Supplies data used by PART’s Google Transit Feed, TransLoc, Remix and Automatic Passenger Counters (APCs).
- Analyzes operational and ridership data from TransLoc and APC’s.
- Designs new routes and schedules.
- Documents route analyses and Title VI impacts.
- Maintains a bus stop inventory and manages the bus stop amenities program.
- Assists with grant applications for bus purchases and service enhancements.
- Creates Visualizes data through maps and collects data graph related to demographics and employment used by Marketing and Commuter Resources Department.
Data Collection and Maintenance
Collecting accurate data is vital to the work that PART does. Data used by PART comes from federal, state, or local agencies such as the U.S Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and various local municipalities. Ridership data generated through Automatic Passenger Counters (APCs) located on all of PART’s buses is reviewed and aggregated and always kept up-to-date. A weekly diagnostic report is performed to guarantee that the devices are functioning properly. The APC data is often supplied to different departments within PART who use it to make key decisions.
Other information that is often shared across agencies is route and bus stop data located within the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS). Therefore, ensuring that the GTFS is updated every time there is a service change is important when sharing data. All of the data at PART is constantly being updated and archived for future reference and regulatory compliance.
Route Planning and Evaluation involves synthesizing existing operational data, best practices in the industry and demographic and employment data. PART uses several tools to process, analyze and visualize data. The Planning Department uses:
- Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) data through an online tool called On The Map;
- Catchment Area Analyses using Socio-Economic Data from the Regional Travel Demand Model;
- The Cost of Housing & Transportation Data, a measure of the overall cost of housing and transportation cost by families by location;
- Transit Propensity, a measure of ridership and transit service support based on population and employment;
- Remix, a route analysis tool that calculates route cost, length, hours, and service demographics automatically; and
- Route ridership projections and potential from TBEST and a formula developed by PART.
- Automatic Passenger Counter data that counts persons getting on and off a bus at each stop.
PART utilizes a Service Design Manual that guides route planning functions. The general flow of activities is illustrated below.
Below is a sample of the route analyses that have been completed.
Bus Stop Amenities
The PART Express network consists of bus stops at park and ride lots, major employers, transit terminals and a handful of strategic intersections. All but one active park and ride lot has a shelter and bench. Some PART stops have shelters which are shared with other fixed route systems. Some of the stops are at major employers and at a building entrance, therefore not requiring an additional shelter.
In 2016 PART began a bus advertising program to provide funds for bus stop amenities. The planning staff developed transit amenity guidelines and a prioritization process to identify the stops in the most need. A vendor and design were selected. The next step in the process is to begin working with local jurisdictions on permitting and to improve accessibility to the stops, if necessary.